What are some good books for teens to read?What are some good books for teens to read?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One book I am always recommending is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. This is a coming-of-age novel about a girl who loves to read, and it is ideal for any girl who loves to read. Judging from the many questions that eNotes receives about book, some of the most popular with teens are The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, and Great Expectations. The stories and novels about Sherlock Holmes also seem very popular, as are the dystopian novels 1984 and Brave New World. John Steinbeck's novels are still very popular with teenagers, notably Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men. Books of short stories make great reading. I would especially recommend the stories of Maupassant, O. Henry, John Collier, Saki, and Edgar Allan Poe. Agatha Christie's mystery novels featuring Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple are still very popular and very readable. Two of her best mysteries are Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None. The Awakening by Kate Chopin is very popular, especially, it seems with female readers. I envy you being able to discover so many great books and great writers at your early age.

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Oddly enough, nobody, as far as I could see, mentioned The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It seems odd because there are so many questions and answers about that novel in eNotes. I'm sure many readers have enjoyed it and learned from it. Fitzgerald was an excellent writer. His other novels are good too. His best is probably Tender is the Night. Ernest Hemingway did not get many nods. I would recommend his short stories, which are all available in one volume. Among his best stories are "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," "The Killers," and "Hills Like White Elephants." "Hills Like White Elephants" seems to be extremely popular with young readers. I recommend it highly--but if you get a copy of Hemingway's complete short stories you will undoubtedly want to read some others. Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie didn't get much attention from the people who responded to your question, but it must be very popular, judging from all the questions and answers in eNotes. If you like off-the-wall literature, I would recommend Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis and the stories of John Collier collected under the title of Fancies and Goodnights. One of his stories is about a young poet who gets tired of struggling to survive in the outside world and decides to pose as a department-store mannequin by day and sleep in the store at night. There are some strange things happening in the store after closing time. I can't remember seeing any mention of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, which has been described as an American masterpiece. 

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kshalike | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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I think some of the best books for teenagers to read are interesting while providing social commentary that can be discussed and related to the world around them. I few that stuck out to me that I read in high school are 1984 by George Orwell, as well as Lord of the Flies. I also really enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy and I believe that as popular as it is now, it can be used to make many comments on society and personal values. 

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lsooy | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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A few years ago, I purchased the Bluford series of books for my middle school students to borrow and read independently. The Bluford books are about fictional teenagers in a fictional high school called Bluford High. I have seen students who say they hate reading read one novel in a night and come back for more. If your goal is to get kids interested in reading, then I highly recommend this series of currently 18 books.


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mlsiasebs | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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  • Anything by Mark Twain
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • Where the Red Fern Grows
  • A Separate Peace
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • The Story of My LIfe by Helen Keller
  • The Sun Also Rises

I think the most important thing is to read and to read often.  I would encourage you to try new genres of books, different authors, fiction vs. non-fiction, biographies/memoirs, etc.  If you are having trouble finding a book, talk to the librarian at your school or the public library.  Tell them the books you've liked in the past and they can help you find other books that might appeal to you.

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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There's a huge difference between what I might suggest for someone aged 13 and someone aged 19.

For the younger end of the teenaged spectrum, I like to make them think by reading and thinking about situations that seem familiar in some ways but involve huge changes in perspective. Books like The Giver or The City of Ember set up alternative living circumstances that can force some real consideration about personal values and viewpoints.

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The Catcher in the Rye speaks to a lot of young people though it is a bit dated today, I think. I honestly haven't read enough of the recent stuff like the Hunger Games to really comment on it. To Kill a Mockingbird resonates with many kids. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers is a good one as well. Of Mice and Men, as others have said, is powerful and readable, as is most of Steinbeck.

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The Catcher in the Rye has been suggested already and I would suggest it too. The Lord of the Rings might interest you if you like fantasy. Or you might enjoy something more serious and literary like The Pearl. 

Looking to popular fiction writers can be great for teens. Page-turners like The DaVinci Code and Jurassic Parkcan entertain and also create a real love of reading, even if the books aren't exactly literary art. (They're still fun to read.)

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thewanderlust878 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 3) Salutatorian

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Wow, there are so many great ideas!

Being an older teen I enjoy literature that is more in the genre of classics. 

For example, my favorite book of all time is Anna Karenina. I also enjoy books by Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Virginia Woolf. 

However, I am a literature addict and love most everything I pick up :)

For students who may not enjoy the same books I do I would suggest Harry Potter, The Night Circus, the Fallen series, and the Lord of The Rings series. 

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zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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If you are preparing for a test that will affect your chances in college, I would refer to books such as literary classics. However, if it is something to read for fun I would recommend something like Harry Potter or the Hunger Games series. And of course if you plan to get some lessons out of the books, I would use books such as To Kill a mockingbird. There are many books you can read out of different genres that will help you either way. 

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udonbutterfly | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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If you are starting to prepare for the SAT's or ACT's and you want something interesting I would say some reads like Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, and Ethan Frome. Although many of teens may be weary of classical reads because the vernacular is a little difficult to sort through or the plots are too explosive I can say these books do a good of at delivering plots and semi-explosive events with vernacular that isn't to hard to get by with a google here or there.

Some books that I would recommend  from present day would be books like the Kite Runner or City of Bones. These are great reads! With the Kite Runner you really do become or want to become more culturally aware of things happening. Also the City of Bones delivers a great plot with explosive events and journey. It was a great read!

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swastichoubey | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

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I really enjoyed the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Maximum Ride by James Patterson both fiction.

But if u look up unfictional historical novels you'll find tons of awesome things to read.. plus it's educational the best of both worlds! :D

i agree with francy17 about the hunger games...really awesome..

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just-s | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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You've given a bit of a big age difference but i would say the Hunger Games Trilogy was good (and the film - awesome!), The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mocking Bird and classics are good like Great Expectations or Pride and Prejudice :)

absolutely those books were really awesome...all of them!!!!

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sumayyah99 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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You've given a bit of a big age difference but i would say the Hunger Games Trilogy was good (and the film - awesome!), The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mocking Bird and classics are good like Great Expectations or Pride and Prejudice :)

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becca1457 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

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I recommend "The Hunger Game", because that's what all the teens are reading right now i suppose.

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